We welcome those who hospitals find the hardest to care for: people who are homeless and suffering from end-stage disease. Sometimes they also suffer from mental illness and addictions to drugs and alcohol. Many have spent part of their lives in prison. Increasingly, the people who are referred to Joseph’s House speak neither English nor Spanish.
“I came home from work, from the hospital from chemo one day, start the key in the door, and it turned back in my hand. They had changed the locks on me.
–Melvin White, a former resident
They are suffering. They’re afraid. And nearly always, they are alone.
Once at Joseph’s House they become members of our community with experiences that vary depending upon their health and interests. Some stay for just a few days or weeks, others quite a bit longer––the average stay is about two months. Some are confined to their beds, at least at the end of their lives, while others are well enough to be more active.
“At Joseph’s House I have learned that everyone is a teacher, not just those with advanced degrees or years of experience.”
–Matt Hiltibran, former volunteer
Most join in community meals and other activities, and build meaningful relationships with other residents and the staff and volunteers. They share time with one another on the porch or in the living room. It’s common for residents to help serve others at meal times and, at times, residents sit vigil with those who are dying.
Some are able to continue with interests such as painting, watching favorite television shows, and visiting with family and friends. Joseph’s House also offers a setting for reconciliation for those who are estranged or have lost touch with their families. We join together to celebrate birthdays and holidays.
Always, our goal is for each resident to know that they are truly at home, in a place where they can be comfortable, at ease, and cared for lovingly and with exquisite attention. While those who come here may have been anonymous, invisible or discarded before they arrived, they are known and loved by the community while they are here.